Once viewed as an illegal substance that caused negative effects for anyone who dared to use it, the public now recognizes CBD oil and the benefits it brings to sufferers of many different ailments.
This has led to a number of research studies that have revealed benefits including reduced anxiety, anticancer effects. It is also used effectively to treat epilepsy patients. And recently, another study showed it can help with heroin addiction.
A large proportion of these studies have focused on the effects it has on humans, with very little of these studies taking into account the effect CBD may also have on dogs. Only last week, one study conclusively showed that epileptic dogs show signs of improvement while taking CBD, although the sample was rather small.
Despite the lack of research, a recent phenomenon has seen many dog owners turning towards CBD as a solution for their dogs’ varied previously difficult to treat health and behavioral issues.
One dog owner, Brett Johnson, says he uses CBD products on his two Border Collies and thinks they are effectively treating their health condition.
“They have an internal condition that is yeast infection and it’s causing them to itch.” Johnson explains, “The CBD oil is helping a lot. I highly recommend it.”
No matter how much fellow dog owners recommend CBD, however, many veterinarians are urging caution in the use of these products for dogs in 2019.
Dr. Annette Sysel, who works as a veterinarian at Martin Downs Animal Hospital, is passionate about raising awareness for the potential risks of these practices.
“I probably have clients asking me about CBD on a weekly basis.” Dr. Sysel admits, “I think there are a lot of applications on the human side and for that reason, a lot of people are interested in it for their pets as well.”
She goes on to speak about the little research that has been done on the effects of CBD on dogs, and specifically on how it can be used to treat specific ailments.
“[…] At this time, there’s really not enough out there to say the product is safe.” She says.
According to Dr. Sysel, the lack of research isn’t the only reason why people should be cautious about providing their dogs with CBD.
The other big issue lies in the fact that a dog owner may not know exactly what is in the product.
Under the Farm Bill of 2018, hemp was removed from the list of schedule I controlled substances and made into an agricultural commodity. Despite this, it is still considered to be a drug by the FDA.
Under this bill, licensing bodies agreed that states are allowed to make the rules on the sale and distribution of CBD on a state by state basis (with Illinois being the latest state to move towards full legalization of both CBD and marijuana).
This means that some states, like Florida, veterinarians are left unable to discuss or recommend CBD to clients at all.
With little information about where to look regarding CBD products for those who do choose to go ahead and use them on their dogs, there are also further concerns about the unregulated manufacturing of CBD products.
In accordance with the Farm Bill, hemp must be manufactured by licensed distributors, most predominantly located in Colorado, Kentucky and Oregon. Despite this, a lot of people are choosing to make CBD products on their own, fueled by the fact that the marketplace itself is fairly unregulated at this point in time.
“They call it the Wild West. CBD from hemp products can be pretty much made by anyone.” Dr. Sysel warned. “It can be very dangerous for owners to be giving CBD from uncertain sources when they’re not even sure exactly what’s in the product.”
Another dog owner, Stacey Allen, wanted to see if CBD products could help one of her French Bulldogs, who suffers from major anxiety during thunderstorms.
Before she did it, however, she decided to conduct research, as Dr. Sysel suggests, to make sure she knew exactly what she was giving her dog.
“[I] made sure the traceability and the compliance was there… just knowing our source and having a good company that we know their standards.”
After being convinced by her research, Allen made the decision to invest in CBD treats from Ceed 2 Med, a Delray Beach-based company that grows and sells its own CBD products in Oregon.
According to her, these products have completely transformed the anxiety her French Bulldog experiences, and she has definitely noticed a difference.
Despite this seemingly positive experience, veterinarians are still cautious about CBD for dogs.
Instead, Dr. Sysel advocates talking to veterinarians about other safe known options that are available at this time.
In conclusion, though CBD may one day be recommended as a suitable treatment for dogs’ suffering from a number of different ailments, we simply are not there yet.
Until further research studies and investigations have been carried out, it is advisable that you avoid these products, despite the positive outcomes they claim.